A Stocking Stuffer for Teens & Young Adults My Orange Duffle Bag

Time is growing short, and Christmas will be here in four short days. There is still time to pick up a last-minute stocking stuffer for the teens and young adults in your life, and it just might be a little book that changes their perspective altogether.

IMG_0861We want  young people to pack their bags with their hopes and dreams for a future. We want to encourage corporations and organizations to pack those same bags with connections to communities and tools that will help young people succeed on their journeys to self-sufficiency. To our knowledge, we are the only organization in the nation providing certified life plan coaching to youth in foster care, those aging out, and homeless youth.” Echo Garrett, co-author of My Orange Duffel Bag: a Journey to Radical Change and co-founder of the Orange Duffel Bag Initiative

 Did You Know?

*50% of youth in foster care in Georgia “age out” before receiving a high school diploma or GED?

*50% of youth in foster care in Georgia who “age out” (usually at age 18) experience homelessness within the first six months?

Many who are reading this have children, like mine, that have never known instability as far as their welfare goes. While our children are beyond blessed, with tremendous educational opportunities, love, and support, I believe there is so much they can learn from those who have not had the same life benefits. That is why I am suggesting that you consider picking up a copy of this book for a last-minute gift for your teens and young adults. Donny and I gave these to our children for Christmas when the book was first published in 2010.

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

As a Christmas offering to our church, we decided to give a copy to each of the teens in our youth group this past Wednesday night at their annual party. It is a life-changing book. It is a book that we all need to read. It is a true story of Sam Bracken’s authentic and painful journey and this book serves as a reminder that radical change CAN happen no matter where we have been or what is currently going on in our life. It is a reminder to work hard, using the resources we have been given, because not everyone has been so fortunate. It is a story of rising above some of the most horrific and unimaginable childhood circumstances. The story is told with amazing original photography by Kevin Montgomery and fashioned in such a way that even the most tech-savvy teen’s attention will be held for the minutes it will take to read through it. I believe all teens and young adults should have this book in their library because they are our future and they are the ones that can bring positive change to our changing world.

Contact me if you need help finding a copy of this book for your loved one.

IMG_0862This book soon led to the founding of The Orange Duffel Bag Initiative. ODBI has found the best way to help these young people who are aging out of foster care is to listen to their stories. You and your family can learn more about this remarkable effort to change lives, one-by-one at The Orange Duffel Bag Initiative. You can also learn more about ODBI in the December issue of Atlanta magazine in an article entitled, State of Independents: The Orange Duffle Bag Initiative.

What we do is coaching, not teaching. We assume the answer is within each kid. All we have to do is draw it out. It’s Socratic.” Sam Bracken, a Franklin Covey executive, co-author of My Orange Duffel Bag: a Journey to Radical Change and co-founder of the Orange Duffel Bag Initiative

In memory of my Mama’s birthday yesterday, I saw the newest version of Annie . You will absolutely fall in love with foster child, Annie, played by Quvenzhane Wallis and the performances by Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz are great, as well.